Clare discusses why guinea pigs need companions
August 21, 2023
As social creatures, Apex Vets believe it is best to keep guinea pigs living in pairs or groups to help mimic their natural behaviour. Not only will it improve their mental wellbeing, but they are less likely to suffer any physical issues linked to isolation. Our nurse, Clare discusses everything you need to know on guinea pig companionship in our article below.
Guinea pigs rely on social interaction to thrive. They will often groom each other, play, keep each other company – all of which will help them feel happy, safe, and secure in their home with you. As a minimum, Clare recommends having a pair of guinea pigs to enable them to do all these things. Different sexes should be neutered to prevent breeding and fighting, gives us a call for some advice if you need help with pairing guinea pigs!
By keeping a guinea pig on their own, you are confusing their natural behavioural development. Living with a companion helps the pigs to develop boundaries, whereas single guinea pigs will often become aggressive and in some cases, depressed and will self-harm.
Living with a companion or two will help your guinea pig to work on their communication skills. They use body language, scent marking and a range of vocalisations (such as squeaks and grunts) to communicate with other guinea pigs. Often, they will start to squeak at their owners as well!
Keeping them active
Living with companions also helps guinea pigs stay active. As a species, they need regular exercise – a companion can encourage play, stimulation, and exploration. This will help to keep them physically fit, reducing the likelihood of obesity and associated health issues, as well as mentally stimulated.
Overall, keeping guinea pigs in pairs or small groups is important for their physical and mental health. Our team at Apex Vets on Winchester Avenue are more than happy to advise if you are considering adopting a guinea pig – as it’s highly recommended to adopt two or more for company.
Remember to share this article with other guinea pig owners and contact us today for more advice on 01324 829 989 or to register your guinea pigs with us.